tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN November 4, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PST
see you back here this time tomorrow. more depositions. don't go anywhere as we continue to read through them. brianna keilar picks up on our coverage right now. have a good afternoon. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now democrats in the house are officially moving to the next phase of the impeachment inquiry. they're making testimony public on the same day that four witnesses are refusing to testify. democrats are releasing transcripts of four witnesses. marie yavonovitch, ambassador to ukraine, and mckinley. we learned that yavonovitch
reached out to the secretary of the interior in late january or early february to talk about vice president biden and the 2016 election. that's certainly long before the phone call and before president zelensky's election. at that time around february, avicov expressed concerns to yavonovitch that getting into u.s. politics would be a dangerous place for ukraine to be. here is the testimony. question: what were his concerns as expressed to you? yavonovitch: he thought this was -- so he thought it was very dangerous that ukraine since its independence has had bipartisan support from both democrats and republicans all these years, and to start kind of getting into u.s. politics and u.s. domestic politics was a dangerous place for ukraine to be. question: why did he think he would be getting into u.s. domestic politics by speaking with mr. giuliani? and marie yavonovitch said, well, because he told me that,
but because of what you had mentioned before, the issue of the blackled ledger, mr. manafos release of the trump campaign as a result. the issue of whether it was russia collusion or whether it was really ukraine collusion, and, you know, looking forward to the 2020 election campaign and whether this would somehow hurt former vice president biden. i think he felt that was just very dangerous terrain for another country to be in. our manu raju is on capitol hill. manu, these things we're reading are pretty executive order to get into the details here. what else can you tell us about these transcripts and the decision to release them now? >> reporter: yeah, it's really showing the extent of this effort to mount this parallel foreign policy to the actual official diplomatic channels to the state department. instead rudy giuliani with the support of the president pushing these investigations that could potentially help the president
politically at the same time as vital military aid for ukraine had been withheld. we're learning a lot more about the former ukranian ambassador, marie yavonovitch, someone who had been sitting in that position for some time and had been targeted by rudy giuliani, rudy giuliani launching a smear campaign to try to oust her from that post. the president himself had raised her name, singled her out in that infamous july phone call with president zelensky of ukraine. according to that rough transcript, she's named in there and she's asked about the president singling her out and the phone call. this is what she says, according to the transcript. she's asked, at the top of page 4, the former ambassador from the united states, the woman was bad news and the people she was dealing with in ukraine were bad news, so i just want to let you know that. when asked what was your reaction when you saw that? yavonovitch replied, i hate to be repetitive but i was shocked.
i was very surprised that president trump would first of all that i would feature repeatedly in a presidential phone call, but secondly, that the president would speak about me or any ambassador na way to a for counterpart. question: at the bottom of that same page, president trump says, well, she's going to go through some things. what did you understand that to mean? she said, i didn't know what it meant. i was very concerned. i still am. question colon did you feel threatened? she said yes. she is still a career service officer working for the state department, and there are concerns that mike mckinley, who was former adviser for mike pompeo about the refusal to show support for her through this whole process. mckinley, according to the transcript that was released today, raised concerns that mike pompeo did nothing to show support for her amid this
pressure campaign to oust her from that post and also said he resigned in part because he believed the u.s. ambassadors were being employed by the president to push a political agenda that could help him domestically. so these are some significant statements from career people who have served in government for much of their careers saying what they saw was highly unusual, using the levers of the u.s. government to help the president politically, and we expect to get more transcripts coming out in the days ahead, at least two more tomorrow. the democrats shift gears to provide information about what's going on behind closed doors. as we get into that public hearing phase as soon as next week. brianna? >> as soon as next week. manu, thanks so much live from the capitol. we have an editor for real politics. she is counsel for the whitewater investigation and she's the author of "how to read
the constitution and why." and we have senior correspondent evan perez. let's talk about the timeline first, right? so, evan, we've heard this timeline of as far back as february, you had giuliani talking about the bidens, and we've also learned from this transcript that giuliani was talking to ukranian officials, really, into late 2018 as well. >> right. this is marie yavonovitch's testimony in her deposition. she says in late 2018 is the first time she learns that rudy giuliani is running this shadow campaign behind her back, essentially trying to smear her. it appears that there are other people in ukraine who want her gone. and keep in mind, she viewed one of the most important parts of her job fighting corruption in ukraine. there were certain people in ukraine who were not happy about what exactly she was doing. so the smear campaign took off and certainly got to the president's ear.
i'll read you a part of what she says. the reaction from ukranians certainly who were talking to her. she says what giuliani did cut the ground from underneath us. and she said, it hampered the u.s. embassy's efforts to represent what was the official u.s. policy at the time. she says ukranians were wondering whether i would be leaving, whether we represented the president, u.s. policy, et cetera. ukranians are coming to her. she's trying to figure out exactly where she stands and what really is the policy? is it the official policy or the one rudy giuliani is producing. >> in february giuliani is discussing the bidens with ukranians, then you go all the way months later, and we knew even publicly months after that this was something rudy giuliani was trying to do, he was trying to dig up dirt on joe biden as it pertained to ukraine, then
the phone call happens well into the summer. what does that tell you, then, about the potential of wrongdoing on this phone call? >> well, factually we're not hearing any counternarrative from the white house or from republicans who sat in on these closed door depositions. that is, we're not hearing a different story other than there was an ask of the ukranians to start an intelligence investigation or a criminal investigation of american citizens who also happen to be political rivals. so we have to continue with that being basically the base of the facts and the question really becomes, who cares politically? people should care, but that's the fight, the president saying, well, it doesn't matter. it does matter for another reason these transcripts read together can demonstrate. we're talking about career-experienced public officials, public servants that spend their lives serving the
government versus a private lawyer who is not actually a government employee, he doesn't take an oath of office, he's not bound by the rules and regulations and limitations to ensure that government officials actually act with integrity and ethics for the american populace. basically jumping in from the side and starting a separate foreign policy, it's hard to wrap our brains around how that possibly could be one that represents the american public when they're at odds clearly with things done for this president in multiple administrations. >> i think actually the role of rudy giuliani and a black ops foreign policy who mike pompeo gave the state department over to, with goals counter to our ukraine policy and the president's political future and not our national security goals and values with our allies like
ukraine. this is something republicans are never asked about. they focus on the whistleblower and everything else. mike pompeo, secretary of state, is exposed, mick mulvaney is exposed. vice president pence knew about this. rick perry who is in the energy department as secretary. this is at the highest level of government people are at least complicit in knowing this if they were not participating in this. these transcripts are going to make clear to the public in more detail for the first time just how deep into this government rudy giuliani's tentacles went at the direction of president trump. >> but it goes beyond the politics, really. there is possibly a legal violation here. you can see the ambassador, right, is in charge of a policy which is to fight corruption. we know that she was there for several years overseeing this public policy that the united states has. if somebody is running an operation essentially to retaliate against her for
rooting out corruption and trying to root out corruption, there are u.s. laws that apply there, and whoever was part of that, if it's ambassador sondland, if it's ambassador volker, if it's mike pompeo, rick perry, whoever was doing that, there are u.s. laws that apply and very much so. i think that's why her testimony is so important for the legal part of this. >> let's talk also about connecting the dots that indicate that's very much the case. rudy giuliani is not paid by president trump. he's doing apparently pro bono work for the president who is a wealthy man. he was getting paid by a ukranian american and a belarose american who had received money from a russian man, and they did not like marie yavonovitch,
right? so in that regard, their roles aligned. i do want to read something from marie yavonovitch. this is one of the excerpts. the question was, and from your staff members or your own conversations, what did you come to learn about mr. giuliani's interest in ukraine? she responds, that basically there had been a number of meetings between mr. lasenko and mayor giuliani and they were looking -- i should say mr. lasenko was looking to hurt me in the u.s. koi i couldn't imagine what that was but now i see. the question was, what do you see now? she answered, well, i'm no longer in ukraine. lasenko was the attorney general. >> the complaints by not only the united states and europeans and groups inside ukraine was that essentially he was corrupt, that he was sometimes targeting people, bringing cases against
people and then taking money to let those cases go away. so he was not viewed by a lot of people involved to be an honest prosecutor, and so she was part of the effort to sort of make that public and make that -- make him essentially leave his position. and so for him to be then retaliating against her and for rudy giuliani and some of these characters to be carrying that water, i think really, really raises some legal questions, and i think this is why the prosecutors in the southern district of new york are quietly going through these things, they're going to look at these transcripts, they're going to see every one of these depositions and then they're going to see what else they have and what else they need to be able to tackle what exactly went on here. again, you can see just from the part you just read, you can see that what she is describing is essentially retaliation for going after people who were corrupt in out crathe ukranian the previous regime. >> and you mentioned, a.b., this
stretches into the state department, obviously. they're complicit as they understand what rudy giuliani is doing. one of the key parts of mckinley's testimony, who was a former top adviser to pompeo, and this is why he resigned, was the retaliation that was happening within the state department. >> which makes the secretary of state complicit because he allowed it to happen, he didn't work against it, he knew it was happening. i don't know what kind of documents we're going to -- congress is going to eventually receive from the state department on this issue, but i think that this testimony, as i mentioned, will be more revelatory about how far back this goes, how deeply it goes -- >> and the money that went into this is significant. >> and that's why the problem for mike pence, who is supposed to be president zelensky's ukranian presidential inaugural
ceremony, but he was pulled as a snub and rick perry went, anyway. everyone at the table knows about this. >> you've written this book about the constitution. we see all these facts in plain sight, all of these witnesses who have things they're saying that are converging, and it paints, quite frankly, a horrifying picture of how this was all being conducted, and yet you see republicans defending president trump. what is the effect of, as this goes along, if there is really -- there's nothing -- there are no consequences for the president behaving this way. what's the effect of that? >> that's absolutely crucial. you mention potential crimes of some of these people. william barr is in charge of the entire justice department, he's in charge of the justice of new york, but under his rule or his word, the whistleblower
complaint was pulled from the process, didn't go to congress, was put on the server. so there are two ways to hold wrongdoers wrong in government, one is through the judicial branch and prosecutors. so if this is not going to the attorney general and his decision making, it has to go to congress, and we're seeing obstruction of congress, and i think a misunderstanding amongst many people in the public that this is somehow abusing the president, this is an abuse of process, this is an harassment, this is unfair. but they have to understand that the office of the presidency has to have checks and balances. someone else has to hold this job. if we allow them to have no checks and balances, it is human nature to abuse power and ultimately use it against regular people. that's why, however this impeachment process turns out with this particular man, congress has to pull the lever of oversight that the constitution sets forth as foundational to ensure we don't
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we're back now with our top story, the release of transcripts in the house impeachment inquiry, and marie yavonovitch said she was shocked when she heard about the phone call between the president and president zelensky, and she summoned the state department to protect her. kaitlan collins is on the hill. i know you just got these transcripts. tell us what you know. >> one of the notable things is the state department issued a statement supporting her as she was koccoming under attack by
officials, including the president and his own son. she said, what i wanted was the secretary of state to issue a statement that said that, you know, i have his full confidence or something like that, to indicate that i, in fact, am the ambassador in ukraine, and that i speak for the president, for the secretary of state, for our country. she thought she had been undermined by the president. she thought it would be a tweet or something, and it soon became quite clear they were wanot goi to issue any kind of support for her, which is really notable. this is someone who worked for the administration, someone mike pompeo was in charge of, and ukranian officials were wondering who was in charge of the policy there, and she said she couldn't get a show of support from the state department at that time. >> kaitlan, thank you for outlining that for us. we appreciate it.
i want to talk now with elaine lurea. it's important to note you served for two decades as a commander. you had a voice when it comes to impeachment. you waited for it to come out behind several other freshmen who have backgrounds in national security after we learned of this ukraine phone call, something that was seen as a turning point as democrats decided to move forward with the impeachment inquiry process. i'm not sure you've had a chance to delve into any of this so far, i know you're in norfolk, but what is your reaction to just hearing these outlines of what it was like to be this ambassador on the other end of what she describes as a retaliation campaign against her where she wasn't getting any support from the state department, even though she was up holding u.s. policy in ukraine? >> well, brianna, thanks for
having me, and like you said, these are late-breaking and i have had a chance to peruse some brief summaries of them, and obviously listened to the remarks that were made by the white house correspondent right before i came on, and it's very concerning. because it shows a complete breakdown in our system, our system of diplomacy, and it just reiterates what was so evident to me when i joined with my colleagues and we came out as a collective voice to say it is imperative that we move forward with an impeachment inquiry. because this phone call fween t -- between the president of the united states and the president of ukraine where he is leveraging foreign aid for personal benefit, in order to start an investigation that is going to find dirt on his potential political opponent, to relitigate the results of the 2016 election. foreign policy is not designed for the benefit of one person, it's designed for better world order, it's designed to further
the goals and objectives of our country and our allies, and this did not do that. it shows that there was truly a breakdown within the state department and between the administration and the people speaking for our country on behalf of the administration and their goals did not align. in this case where i find the lack of alignment concerning is i believe the president had different goals than our representatives who are speaking on our behalf to ukraine. >> what does the -- what do the details about the timeline change here? for instance, we've learned from the former u.s. ambassador to ukraine, marie yavonovitch, that rudy giuliani, she says, was talking with basically ukranian government officials, she said probably around november/december time frame of 2018. and then she knew that as early -- at least as early as february, rudy giuliani's shadow campaign was -- and rudy
giuliani in that capacity was discussing the joe biden investigation element of this. of course, it was into the summer when we saw the aid held up, we saw the phone call with the president after that. does that do anything in terms of how it maybe should change minds? >> what it says to me is that this plan was in motion for much longer than we may have previously known until we became aware of these statements and this testimony, and it could have been much more pervasive and much more built up to the point when the phone call happened. so the idea of whether there was a quid pro quo on that one particular call, this evidence may just show that that had existed over a course of time as it built up to this particular moment when it was stated on the call. >> there are several witnesses so far who have indicated there was a quid pro quo. president trump still says there wasn't. but now there are public defenders who are having a hard
time, clearly, taking that line and trying to defend him and say there was no quid pro quo. and now they're essentially saying it's not illegal if there was. let's listen. >> look, if i believed everything the democrats were saying, i would still say this isn't an impeachable offense. now we're going to do this on a phone call? i just don't think this rises to the level. and i think my friends on the democratic side are putting america through a terrifically bad experience. >> that was congressman tom cole of oklahoma. what do you think of that argument? >> well, i think it is a terrifically bad experience for the american people. none of us came to washington to be in this situation or to want to impeach the president or move forward with an impeachment inquiry. so i think it's two things. one is that the democrats didn't put us here, the president of the united states's actions put
us here. secondly, moving forward, the only defense that seems to be coming from those who don't agree with this inquiry is an attack on the process. i do see people backing off on standing behind the actions of the president, the president himself, and truly, when i speak to my colleagues across the aisle, i feel like the only thing they have to say now is some sham attacks on the process. and we voted last thursday for a process that is going to be clear and transparent and provide information to the american public, which we have seen with these very transcripts we're discussing right now. as we move forward, the more that people can see and learn and get into the details of what happened, and they can see that it is clear and transparent, that argument is going to go away as well. >> congresswoman elaine luria, thank you so much for joining us from norfolk. we appreciate it. >> thank you. we're going now through these pages and pages of transcripts that just came out
from two key testimonies on capitol hill. also the president is facing another setback in his fight to keep his tax returns private, and now this fight is headed to the supreme court. we're going to mohave more on t implications of an appeals decision, next. introducing t-mobile's 600mhz signal. no signal reaches farther or is more reliable. and it's built 5g ready.
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president trump is now ready to go to the supreme court in his effort to keep his tax returns private. an appeals court ruled today that an accounting firm used by trump must turn over eight years of returns to a grand jury in new york, and president trump fought the release with the argument that as president, he enjoys absolute immunity from any criminal process. joining me now to discuss, we have cnn supreme court analyst joan piscupic and kim wehle back with us as well. the president is going to appeal this ruling today with the supreme court. this decision has to do with new york's criminal investigation of the trump family real estate business. what was the court's rationale here, kim? >> the court's rationale is that there is no such thing as this kind of sweeping absolute immunity from any process whatsoever by anyone during the presidency. now, keep in mind here, we have
a state process, we have a state prosecutor seeking information from a third party accountant firm. we don't have congress getting information from the white house. we don't even have information being sought from the white house about official business while he's president. these are his personal tax returns from a third party and the court said, wait a minute. there is no basis in the law for this massive umbrella, basically bullet-proof process for the president while he's in office. it just doesn't exist, and the compelling lower court decision explains in no uncertain terms to the dangers of the destruction of democracy and the constitution if the president were to be immune from any type of judicial oversight while in office. >> now you have lower courts who said what kim said, basically this doesn't exist, you don't have this protection. how would the supreme court see this, joan? >> this is not a fringe decision, it's by a very
respected chief judge, robert katsun in the second circuit, relying on a clinton case and more importantly from a 1974 u.s. v. nixon case. if the supreme court were to go in another direction here, it would be startling just because how this decision is so in the main. some of you might remember, when this case was argued by trump's lawyers at the second circuit recently, this was a case where a lawyer said, if president trump shot someone on fifth avenue, there would be nothing to do here. so the claim from the trump administration is awfully bold, audacious, even, and i think it would be great if the supreme court would go in another direction, we just don't know. obviously they said they would appeal. as transcripts in the testimony of two key witnesses in the probe are released this hour, the president is stepping
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answer questions from republicans directly, but in writing to preserve anonymity. president trump says that is not good enough. my next guest dan meyer has been a whistleblower four times. he also used to oversee the program the whistleblower went through to try to file a complaint against the president of ukraine. how important is this first by the whistleblower says i will answer written questions to preserve anonymity. >> we don't have an official institution in the white house to do an actual review of the whistleblower's disclosure, but it makes sense that the attorneys are offering a sa safe way to answer questions by the whistleblower with an intermediary. i thought it was very generous for the counsel of the whistleblower to offer that.
>> the president says that's not enough. he says that the whistleblower's identity should be revealed, that the whistleblower should come forward and testify. just tell us what kind of danger that would put the whistleblower in. >> it could be extreme in these circumstances, and not necessarily from the president himself or not from white house staff or not even from the leadership and the agency the whistleblower works for, but the president has a very active base. it's a faction within american politics, and there are individuals within that base who could threaten this whistleblower physically. so this is just as disconcerting as when the identity of cl 6's leader was revealed and his family was threatened. the same could happen here, threats could occur with the whistleblower. >> what kind of concerns should his family have now? >> there could be stalking, there could be a costing in a
public place. if someone had access to weapons, they could threaten their physical safety. this is a very difficult situation for any employee to be in, and if we allow an unmasking of whistleblowers prior to a time when it has to be done at a trial -- sometimes it has to happen at a trial -- if it's done prematurely then the right protections are not in place. >> you've heard republicans backing up the president. they don't want writing, they don't want answers in writing, they want to hear from the whistleblower. some might argue the whistleblower has a duty to appear. as someone with experience being a whistleblower, what do you say to that? >> well, the due process will be afforded to everybody who is under suspicion for criminal activity. that's where it's happening now, and it will happen during the trial. during the trial if the evidence is to be provided against the president, a trial in the senate, then they'll have to come guard wiforward with who te is and the source will have to be cross-examined.
there may be situations where they can't compel someone to come forward. now they have independent corroboration of many of the original claims. >> dan, thank you so much. we appreciate your insight on this. >> nice to be here. the washington nationals as they visit the white house. not all of the players are there. most of them are by far, but we're going to discuss why these white house visits have become so politicized. trucks... and suvs. four years in a row. since more than 32,000 real people... just like me. and me. and me. took the survey that decided these awards. it was only right that you hear the good news from real people... like us. i'm daniel. i'm casey. i'm julio. only chevy has earned j.d. power dependability awards across cars, trucks and suvs. four years in a row.
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right now, the world series champions, the washington nationals are at the white house celebrating their victory in the world series with president trump there is at least one nationals player who is boycotting the event. he couldn't bring himself to go. at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of
conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. i want to bring in david aldridge. the editor in chief. doolittle is not attending the event, we know. there are other players not there. we don't know why they are not there. it's not like, opens, you didn't go to the white house, to celebrate the world series, it's a very noticeable absence. what do you think about this -- baseball is normally not quite as political as football. what do you make of this bleeding into baseball? >> it doesn't shock me. they've been very strong progressive advocates, especially for other issues, the fight for 15, there's other things they been very strongly in favor of publicly. that doesn't surprise me at all. i don't know if anthony rendon
is not there. i don't know why he's not there. he's not said. nobody's said they weren't coming before today. the absence of these other players will have to be explained in the coming days. >> what do you make of these events becoming so politicized? >> i think everything in our country has become politicized in the last 3 1/2 years, hasn't it? sports events are no different. certainly with sports, what you don't have in the larger society is, you have a number of prominent african-american athletes who tend to be on the progressive side of the scale politically, who use your platform whether it's lebron james or steph curry or some of the other pro athletes that have done so that are not comfortable in this realm. they don't want it to be there. they saw it with the woman's
world cup team they didn't want to be invited. >> i want to take the politics out of this for a moment. i hear the president describing the win. i'm a nats fan, i went to the parade on saturday. this was amazing to witness. and it was also this bizarre world series with all of the wins on the road. but what is this -- what does this mean for this community and this team. >> they are one of the most amazing teams i've ever covered in terms of their mental tough ness to be behind in five elimination games in the playoffs. forget 1931 when everyone thought the manager was going to get fired. the fact that they made the playoffs is remarkable. three of which were on the road. and then to come back and western it speaks to a certain
toughness you don't see in many teams. they need to be applauded for that. >> for keeping the faith and not blaming each other. we're continuing to work through the transcripts of these testimonies revealing new details, including ukraine raising concerns about rudy giuliani as early as february. us, se t-mobile is here to help serve them. that's why we're offering 50% off family lines for military, veterans and first responders. so they can stay connected, on our newest, most powerful signal ever. and now, we are also offering half off our top samsung phones for military, veterans and first responders. our service is just one way we say thank you... for theirs.
hi, i'm brooke baldwin, you're watching cnn, thank you for being here. here's the breaking news in the impeachment inquiry today. four witnesses are no shows. the house intelligence committee just released transcripts of maria vonovich and michael mckinley who quit as senior adviser to mike pompeo partially because of the way ivonovich was treated. we have the time line here and how early the former ambassador was aware of rudy